Life and Death on the New York Dance Floor, 1980-1983
Tim Lawrence is Professor of Cultural Studies at the University of East London and the author of Love Saves the Day: A History of American Dance Music Culture, 1970–1979 and Hold On to Your Dreams: Arthur Russell and the Downtown Music Scene, 1973–1992, both also published by Duke University Press.
Sex and Dying
Breaking with 1970s protocol, Bruce Mailman encouraged his dancers to engage in sexual intercourse during the course of a night when he created a darkened balcony upon opening the Saint in 1980. Even if some approached the balcony in a circumspect manner, if at all, thousands ventured there for sex. The action proceeded to become politically explosive shortly after medics announced that AIDS was in all likelihood caused by a virus that spread through bodily secretions such as blood and semen. Horrified by the intensification of the crisis and the lack of a proportionate response, Larry Kramer published an incendiary...